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Ingredients

How to make it

  • Measure 4 quarts of finely cut twigs of sweet birch into the bottom of a 5-gallon crock.
  • In a large kettle, boil together the honey and birch sap for 10 minutes.
  • Pour over chopped twigs.
  • When cool, strain to remove the twigs.
  • Return to the crock.
  • Spread cake of soft yeast on the slice of toasted rye bread.
  • Float on top of the beer in the crock.
  • Cover with a cloth.
  • Let ferment until the cloudiness just starts to settle, about a week but it depends somewhat on temperature.
  • Bottle the beer and cap tightly.
  • Store in a dark place and serve it cold after the weather gets hot.
  • It should stand in the bottles about 3 months before using.
  • If opened too soon, it will foam all over and pop worse than champagne.
  • **This is not a drink for children (I always had it!).
  • **Sweet Birch, also called Black Birch... Sweet birch or Cherry birch has a fragrant bark and twigs that smell of wintergreen. The sap flows about a month later than maple and much faster than maple. You tap the trees the same as maple but must gather about 3 times as often.
  • **The sap also can be boiled the same as maple but the syrup is much stronger, more like molasses.

Reviews & Comments 18

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  • ShoholaBrewer 2 years ago
    Brewed some of this Alcoholic Birch Beer this past spring, it went nice. We tapped the black birch trees in our yard (the kind with the peely papery dark bark, common here in PA), and collected the sap till we reached 4 gallons (you should add Campden tablets each day to the collected sap). That was in early April when the birches started to run. Also used one good sized birch branch cut up for the twigs. Be careful not to take too many, or the birch could "bleed out". We substituted sugar for most of the honey, due to cost, and it turned out fine. The other difference is that I don't know what the hell a "soft cake of yeast" is, so I used a packet of wine yeast, mixed in a cup of warm water, then poured that over the rye toast, which worked nicely. The fermentation got off to a slow start, you want it to be around 75 degrees, which was tough in the spring, so it took about a month. It was about 7% alcohol, we bottled, and it was ready to drink in bout a month! Thanks!
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  • magnoliasouth 5 years ago
    This sounds absolutely amazing! I sure wish I had had this recipe when I lived in Alaska! I could've done it fully homemade because that place is loaded with birch trees. Sadly here on the gulf coast, we don't really have them.
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  • lacrenshaw 5 years ago
    You've never had a soft drink like birch beer, especially PA birch beer. If you can get hold of some you'd be a happy camper, CC1. We DO do the maple sap thing but mostly in the Northeast, not mid-Atlantic. You enjoy your birch trees. We have one in front of our house that I dearly love!
    Lorraine
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  • cabincrazyone 5 years ago
    I've sat under birch trees for a lifetime, but never heard of tapping them. It must be an Eastern thing. In Mn we get maple sap and firewood from trees. Not much more. lol
    Sounds like a great elixir.
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  • lacrenshaw 5 years ago
    The only almost-reasonable substitute for keg birch I have found is Stewart's Birch Beer. It is a very passable birch but still lacks that oh-so-familiar bite of the real stuff. Glad you enjoyed the post, conner!
    Lorraine
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  • conner909 5 years ago
    You're right, Lorraine, we drank Birch Beer at picnics as kids in western New York! I rarely see it here on the west coast, but love it! Thanks for the post.
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  • lacrenshaw 5 years ago
    Ha ha.. I just hope that ray of sunlight isn't warming that birch too much, mad. It is a cool recipe, isn't it? Enjoy it.
    Lorraine
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    " It was excellent "
    madmommy ate it and said...
    Lorraine, my family and I head out to Lancaster county quite a bit. In the summer, at one of the many Amish/Mennonite roadside stands, there waiting for us is a bottle of homemade birch beer, in a ray of sunlight as if ordained by the heavens that we purchase it...lol...and we ALWAYS do. There is nothing better. Fantastic share - ^^^^5555!!
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  • lacrenshaw 5 years ago
    LOL, me too! 22566, we must be a whole lot alike. Enjoy!
    Lorraine
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  • lacrenshaw 5 years ago
    If I had access to a crock, I'd be started already, breezy. Where does one find a 5-gallon crock? The midwestsupply.com is a pretty cool site. Let me know if you really make it, OK? Thanks,
    Lorraine
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  • 22566 5 years ago
    This would always have me volunteering to be the one retrieving the vegetables from the root cellar.~~~Come Spring~~~No more Birch Beer!
    I'm the one setting in the corner looking innocent,with my halo askew.

    Very nice recipe.

    Thank-you

    Kind Regards
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  • lovebreezy 5 years ago
    Lorraine, I have the rye bread and the crock – so I’m on my way!!!!! Okay, so I may have to cut the recipe down and even resort to checking out Bobby’s Mid-West Supplies but it will be an adventure. Thanks for posting this, my new favorite friend. Nameless ;-)
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  • lacrenshaw 5 years ago
    Yo ho, bobby! You are truly a godsend! I can't even believe that your Grandma used this recipe! Birch has such a glorious smooth texture on the tongue and a cooling,almost(pleasantly)medicinal finish in the throat. I can't even begin to imagine myself soaking twigs, tapping sap, etc. Thanks very much for the website, bobby. Believe me, I'm THERE! And, of course, thanks for the five too.
    Lorraine
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    " It was excellent "
    bobbyc0117 ate it and said...
    Lorraine, it's a great recipe keep it and remember our bygone youth, then go to www.midwestsupplies.com and search birch beer and order the extract from there.That way there is no finding sweet birch twigs, and messing with sap. The extract makes a really good old time birch beer. The recipe gets my 5 since it is identical to my Grandmas.
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  • lacrenshaw 5 years ago
    Guess ya just think, "good luck" and throw this one away, lin. lol
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  • linspj 5 years ago
    My brother used to love birch beer as a kid. Yeah, where do you find those things? A lost forgotten soda!
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  • lacrenshaw 5 years ago
    Therein lies the rub, Julia. We have a birch tree right in front of our house but who can tell if it's a "sweet" birch or not. And where in the world would you find 4 GALLONS of birch sap! My dad's company used to have a picnic every year for employees and their families at an amusement park about an hour's drive away. They supplied all of the food and beer keg for the adults but a keg of birch for the kids! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
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    " It was excellent "
    juels ate it and said...
    Sounds like it would come out really good! all I have to do now, is locate the ingredients! Where do you get birch sap and sweet birch twigs?
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